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People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.

– Seth Godin

Whether you are getting ready to open a new shared site, expand your current client base, or attract new donors, it is important to develop a compelling message and a strong set of communication vehicles to motivate prospective participants, families, community organizations, donors, staff and volunteers to support your program. Even a wonderful program can’t survive if no one knows about it!

The concept of bringing generations together under one roof is relatively new in many communities and therefore presents both opportunities and challenges. In a time when loneliness has become an epidemic and ageism is negatively affecting all generations, highlighting the benefits of intergenerational relationships is a powerful message. Yet, parents and caregivers of older adults may be reluctant to have their family members engage in intergenerational programs due to health concerns. Donors may be cautious about investing in a new idea about which they know very little.

Marketing refers to a set of communication strategies created to influence key stakeholders. Marketing is not a single activity, but a PROCESS that needs to be sustained over time. It must be aligned with your organization’s vision, mission, and strategic plan. Even though you may have a person or department who is officially responsible for marketing, remember that EVERYONE is a marketer for your organization.

A strong marketing plan can help you:

  • Distinguish your organization’s purpose from other nonprofits
  • Generate earned revenue through programs and services
  • Develop relationships with other organizations
  • Expand your client base
  • Attract funders
  • Recruit staff and volunteers

For more information, click HERE.

Ebenezer Ridges

5.1 Initial Marketing Steps

Identify Your Marketing Goals

What do you hope your marketing efforts will achieve? Goals and objectives should be specific, measurable, and aimed at results. For example:

  • To enroll 25 older people in our adult day care program and 45 children in our day care center by September 1.
  • To recruit 15 older adults from the retirement community to assist teachers in the Kindergarten classrooms.
  • To identify 3 additional Board members.
  • To launch 4 fundraising initiatives, resulting in $50,000.
Position Your Organization

What do you want to be known for?

What is it about your particular service or program that sets you apart from others?

Positioning is the process of finding your niche to demonstrate how you are different from other organizations that provide similar services.

A positioning statement is a concise description of your target market as well as a compelling picture of how you want that market to perceive your organization. Your positioning statement is an internal tool that can be used as a guidepost for your marketing efforts. It helps you maintain focus on your brand and its value proposition while you work on market strategy and tactics.

You can create a special niche in the aging or child-care network by emphasizing the unique features and benefits of your intergenerational site. Bringing generations together under one roof is what makes you different from other programs – the added value you bring to service delivery.

EXAMPLE: X Intergenerational Center

For families caring for children and/or older adults, the X Intergenerational Center is the only center in our community that offers services to both generations under the same roof. By fostering connections across age groups, our program enhances developmental, academic and functional skills, increases cross-age understanding, and builds a sense of community. It is a “win-win” for all!

For more information on creating your positioning statement, see this article.

Determine Your Overall Approach

A major decision you will have to make is related to your identity and the primacy of intergenerational engagement to your mission. There are multiple approaches you can take in marketing intergenerational shared sites, with varied emphases on the intergenerational component:

  1. Focus on the uniqueness of your site as a place that intentionally builds intergenerational connections, while providing high-quality services to children and older adults.
  2. Market the child-care and aging programs separately, focusing on the quality of each program and mentioning intergenerational activities as an added benefit.
  3. Blend the two approaches, highlighting both the intergenerational dimension and the age-specific components.

Here are some descriptions found on the websites of existing shared sites. Take a moment to review them. Think about what you want to emphasize as you begin to develop your marketing plan.

Comprehensive intergenerational care for all ages & abilities!

St. Ann Center specializes in adult and child day services in a safe, homelike intergenerational setting, where compassion, care and dignity are key. We bring all ages together—from 6 weeks old to 100+. Youngsters learn to respect and socialize with all types of people, while older adults delight to the sights and sounds of children—making dozens of young, loving friends.

The Mount is a vibrant and innovative living care community for older adults that celebrates life, living and individual capability. As a resident or patient, you will be treated with dignity and respect and empowered to work hand in hand with us to develop a plan of care that supports you, fits your lifestyle and honors your needs, preferences and desires.

The intergenerational program is listed under a list of facility features:

The Intergenerational Learning Center, a licensed child care center for infants and young children. Five days a week, children, residents and patients have the opportunity to interact in planned activities such as music, art and storytelling and to engage in conversation and spontaneous encounters throughout our campus.

Kingsley House educates children, strengthens families & builds community.

At Kingsley House, we envision a city and region where all young children are ready to succeed and all citizens are healthy and economically stable. Recognizing that vulnerable families are at risk of being caught in an intractable cycle of poverty, we are committed to ensuring that individuals and families have the supports necessary to be successful at all stages of life. To accomplish our goals, we join forces with dedicated community partners. Collectively, we work with families to fuel economic growth and social change in our city, state and region.


Conduct a Marketing Audit

If you have operated a shared site, adult services, or child day care for a while, to what extent are your current communications strategies helping you achieve your goals (e.g. increased enrollment, funding, community partnerships, volunteers)?

Are all of your strategies aligned and your messages consistent?

Are there things you can do to further highlight the intergenerational aspect of your shared site?

The following are some tools and materials you may want to review before moving forward:

  • Branding”: Names/acronyms, taglines, logo, web domains, and structural relationships. Consider trademarking your brand to protect its integrity.
  • Digital tools: Website, email lists, e-newsletters, social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), blogs, audio and video, presentations, apps, and other virtual resources
  • Collateral materials: Printed and other tangible resources such as brochures, flyers, newsletters, reports, and other take-aways or swag
  • Concepts: Mission statements, intermediate goals, audience identification and targeting, messaging
  • Public relations efforts: Story ideas and development, media relations, quotes, press releases and story pitches, graphics and data, media events/actions, and results metrics
  • Paid advertising: TV/radio, newspaper, shoppers, specialty publications for seniors or parents, digital ads, listings in directories or on local blogs (parenting or eldercare)
  • In-person efforts: Sharing your collateral materials at community health fairs, street fairs, parent resource fairs, or health professionals’ conferences; speaking at senior citizen centers, church groups, service organizations, or meetings of other nonprofits

For more information, click HERE.